NEAR DISASTER: The swift actions of workers harvesting a Pratten wheat crop restricted the losses due to fire.
NEAR DISASTER: The swift actions of workers harvesting a Pratten wheat crop restricted the losses due to fire. Gerard Walsh

Quick action saves valuable wheat crop from fire

A FAVOURABLE wind, the availability of on-farm help and from the Pratten Rural Fire Brigade saved most of a wheat crop which caught fire at Pratten yesterday.

The antenna of a header harvesting the crop clipped a power line and the spark started a fire in the wheat shortly before noon.

Eight men on the scene went to work with shirts and shoes and one added sweat to help save a 50-hectare paddock of wheat.

The crop had been grown by David and Allan Ruhle and was yielding more than two tonnes to the hectare.

About 3ha was lost.

David said they were lucky to have a tractor on site with forks which was used to help control the fire by knocking down the wheat.

The men on site had the fire nearly under control before Pratten Rural Fire Brigade arrived.

They used the fire extinguisher off the header.

Allan Ruhle said they were lucky the wind was pushing the fire towards the edge of the paddock.

"The Pratten Rural Fire Brigade was here quickly," he said.

"We reported the fire to Ergon Energy and they will have to lift the power lines up. Something must have happened with the wires as we always harvest the same way."

Mr Ruhle said if the whole crop had been lost, it would have been a $30,000 to $40,000 loss.

"It was not insured, we have been luckier than most with the rain," he said.



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